In the last few weeks I've touched on SEO and branding techniques for developers that can easily up your credibility as a website. It's a shame when developers have steeped themselves in making the best app they can, but have left out a significant part of the puzzle to market their app.
And while I'd personally gotten a lot of traffic from possible employers and clients, I'd noticed that my app wasn't guiding users in the way I'd hoped they would. Unfortunately with one of my less intuitive apps but the one I'm most proud of, users weren't quite sure what was possible.
For a little context, I'd made an app that offers a shared canvas for users to animate shapes collaboratively and input their favorite songs to watch as shapes would animate to the different audio frequencies. A lot of the time, users would get to the point of creating a canvas, but that canvas was left blank with no animations whatsoever.
So although I'd put a lot of care into how things functioned and so on, my UX/UI design didn't appropriately lead users to seeing and interacting with the components I'd written. This caused me to reflect on what I'd done and my research to remedy the situation led me to the basics of UX copywriting. These are good fundamentals for any developer to fall back on when unsure what would be good copy for any site their building.
Good UX copy will help guide users to do what you intend for them, whether it's hire you as a freelance developer, discover the intricacies of your app, and so on.
This is a bit of a vague statement and ironically doesn't have a very actionable step you can take, but it's crucial. Before you write or design anything for your site, you should be crystal clear on what the goal of this particular page or this particular header is supposed to convey. If it's the homepage of your portfolio site, then your goal should be conveying who you are in as little a time as possible. Your intention is to lead a potential client or employer to contact you.
Or if it's an app, what sort of benefit does the app offer a user? Why might they want to use it? I unfortunately wrote long paragraphs detailing my journey as a developer onto my portfolio page and wrote long text about the different features I'd written for my app. These suffer from unclarity and assume that a user has the time to read through large swaths of text.
Instead, if I wrote with a clear intention in mind, then the text won't be cluttered with unnecessary tangents that bog down the user rather than inform.
Always ask before you write, "What do I want the user to do?"
What falls out from being intentional in your designs is also being sparse. Design your copy to not repeat or have something unnecessary. A good question to ask when editing down is "Have I already said this or does it not help the user do what I intend?" A long paragraph about my history in academia helps tell my story, but it doesn't help the user understand how I'd be an asset or help them accomplish their web dev needs.
Is there grammar issues in your text? Is it awkward to read? Having another person read over your text to check for grammar issues or read it aloud is the best way to discover issues with what you've written. This can be a good low hanging fruit to immediately improve your UI copy.
This was graced on briefly before and I found this on one of design courses videos. But, having "UI/UX Designer" or "Frontend Developer" as a tag line on your website describes a feature of your brand or service. This is a part of "who you are" but doesn't help you stand out among the thousand other people offering the same service. Targeting a market of people looking for a frontend developer with e-commerce experience with a portfolio header of "I build clean online marketplaces for thriving businesses" grabs the attention of someone looking for that service.
This requires that you understand and are intentional about the service that you can offer. So still falls out from the core idea of intentionality. But being clear about what benefit you offer the user will drive and keep traffic on your site longer.
So the core idea you can take from this post is "write and design with intention." The users will know when you don't.